Supermarket thief caught on camera as owner is interviewed by ITV about shoplifting

A thief was caught on camera stealing alcohol by an ITV film crew who were interviewing a store owner about the impact of shoplifting on his business.

CCTV footage of the incident at Freshfield Market in Croydon that aired on ITV News shows a man in a hooded camouflage jacket walking down the alcohol aisle and casually putting two bottles in his pocket.

The clip then cuts to the ITV camera crew and a woman can be heard saying: "I think he's stealing."

The camera spins around to film the man, who is then intercepted by the owner and a staff member mid-interview.

Read more: What are the current punishments for shoplifting in the UK?

The thief tried to steal two bottles of beer. (ITV News)
The thief tried to steal two bottles of beer. (ITV News)

The thief says, "I'm going to pay for it in a minute bro" before handing back the two bottles and telling the staff member to "move".

Owner Ben Selvaratnam told ITV News: "They're so brazen that no one's going to challenge them."

"They're clearly getting away with it, that's what it tells me. So when we're challenging them, it's almost like, 'What are you doing? You won't need to challenge us. We're used to just walking in and out.'"

Shoplifting a growing problem

Shoplifting has become a top issue for retailers large and small recently, with many businesses complaining that police never take the crime seriously.

The British Retail Consortium has estimated that theft is costing retailers nearly £1 billion per year.

Last week, the Co-op said its food business lost £33m 'to leakage' costs, which include theft and fraud.

Read more: Co-op boss urges police to take shoplifting more seriously after £33m cost

The police have been accused of not taking shoplifting seriously. (Getty)
The police have been accused of not taking shoplifting seriously. (Getty)

Matt Hood, managing director of Co-op Food, said: "One of the things that makes me most angry is those that claim this is a victimless crime – it is fundamentally not, as my store colleagues who have been verbally abused, or have had knives or syringes pulled on them, can all vouch for."

Hood said police officers attend about two in 10 thefts, meaning offenders have to be let go.

Smaller businesses that often can't afford extra security staff or systems face even bigger issues.

Earlier in September, the Association of Convenience Stores accused police of not turning up to deal with violent attacks on shop staff because the criminal had already fled.

What happens if you are caught shoplifting in the UK?

A shoplifter can expect to face two different charges if caught – a lesser one if the value of the stolen goods is below £200, or a more serious one if they were more valuable.

Currently, if a person is caught stealing goods with a value below £200, they face a £70 fine without the need to go through a court.

Technically, they still can be charged with a crime and can be sentenced to six months in prison by a magistrate, but most police forces opt for the quicker fine option.

Anything over £200 can lead to a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.